Living with intent, social engagement, learning, growing, giving
At breakfast today I looked around me at the other guests. From the super tall Dutch women in revealing clothes to the Chinese women in functional clothes to the Malay women smiling and demure in tudungs with small children, some overweight, some lean, the Indian families, mostly overweight, the Australian bogans, the athletes here for the Ironman competition, lean and focussed and finally the Arab newlyweds and young families.
The Arab couples are interesting, the women with henna on their hands, some in pastel hijab and carefully matching but concealing pastel outfits, others in more traditional black abayas, some even eating their breakfast under their niqabs. All of these women are glamorous, slim and obviously packed and dressed with care. The husbands by contrast are overweight and dressed in daggy tshirts and shorts. What a contrast that the new wives have taken such care and are so demure yet their men seem to have taken no care except to pile their plates with too much food. I wonder how these women feel back in their hotel rooms each with her new husband given unrestricted access to the body she has assiduously concealed her whole life until now.
After a slow start to the day I walked past the cable car base and continued to the car park for the Seven Wells waterfall. I walked on the soil beside the road wherever possible and on the opposite side to the oncoming traffic because there are always crazy drivers everywhere in the world. At one point a troupe of long-tailed macaques took too much interest in me and started to walk towards me. I yelled and waved my arms but not until I picked up a stick and wave it at them did they move away. I love nature but those monkeys living among people are not easy to love.
I walked slowly up the many stairs until I reached the waterholes at the top of the waterfall. There were only a few people there when I arrived, one Malaysian man sliding down the small cascade, another filming him and 3 Chinese young women looking interestingly dressed for a forest walk in off the shoulder tops and short shorts.
I relaxed in the waterhole, forcing myself to quiet my mind and just be. I didn’t think it was sensible to slide down the cascades on my own in case of an accident so I simply lazed in the water instead, finding a balance between getting some sun but not a sun burn.
At one point I lay right at the edge of a small cascade. My tshirt filled with water and it was only by a finger grip that I stopped myself from tumbling over head first. Water can have amazing force behind it. I also climbed into the little whirlpool below the small cascade and it was fun feeling the water move me around.
Eventually my tranquility was ruptured as some Dutch people and 3 fun loving young Malaysian men arrived with a GoPro. The men had a great time sliding down the small cascades and filming themselves.
I said in my last post that there isn’t much litter on Langkawi but I spoke prematurely. The path to the waterfall and the base of the falls is strewn with litter, like elsewhere in Malaysia. Maybe the cable car operator employs a lot of people to pick up the rubbish and that’s why it’s so clean there.
I sat at the base of the falls enjoying the cool spray on my face and calming my mind. I watched the Arab men gamboling in the water in swimming shorts while their women waited in their full abaya, hijab and niqabs. Life can be so unfair. I watched European couples and Chinese and Malaysian families enjoying the water. One European woman wore a very revealing swimming costume that was open to the navel and I wonder if it was confronting for the Muslims to see.
Back at the base of the hill I stopped for a cool coconut. The young girl charged me twice the price and went to sit with the group of locals beside the shop but gave me the correct change when I followed her back into the shop. I wasn’t sure if it was accidental but she was young and perhaps not very numerate. Later a woman took over from the girl and came and cut my coconut open and showed me how to scoop the flesh out. While I was sitting nibbling on it a female macaque brazenly jumped onto my table and started to eat the coconut while the young people sitting next to the shop watched. I left her to it and walked away.
Walking up to the waterfall was a lovely and relaxing way to escape the heat of midday. On the way back to the hotel I stopped for a bowl of laksa at a popular, open-air and dirty café typical of Malaysia, outside the Oriental Village. I was the only European there and I chose laksa so that I didn’t have to touch the food with my hands made dirty from wielding a stick at the macaques on the return walk. The kampung chicken looked good! The laksa was only ok.